We get some seat-time in Xpeng's new sports sedan ahead of the company's IPO.
InsideEVs had the honor of being the first media outlet to get a chance to test drive the Xpeng P7 in the US, coinciding with the company's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. We've been looking forward to this opportunity, as the P7 has generated a lot of interest globally, even though it's currently only available in China.
The P7 is viewed as a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3, even though size-wise it fits in between the Model 3 and the Model S. That's because its pricing is similar to the Model 3, and is even slightly lower. That makes the Xpeng P7 an attractive value proposition, if it performs well, which is what we set out to discover.
The P7 is also the longest range electric vehicle currently made in China, edging out the long-range Tesla Model 3 by 38 km (24 miles). The rear-wheel-drive P7 has an NEDC range rating of 706 km (438 miles) and the long-range Tesla Model 3 is officially rated at 668 km (414 miles) by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Xpeng rented out a large portion of MetLife Stadium's parking lot for us in East Rutherford, New Jersey, only a couple of miles west, and across the Hudson River from Wall Street where the IPO will take place. My friend and fellow EV enthusiast, Chris Neff came along to help out with shooting video and also is responsible for many of the great pictures in the gallery below of me driving the P7 on the track.
On the Track
Xpeng had a nice track set up with areas for 0-70mph runs, hard braking, a slalom, emergency lane change, and a good amount of hard turns. The P7 performed admirably, not quite up to the standard of some of the top world-class performance sedans, but it did hold its own.
I could definitely tell the suspension was set up more for a comfortable ride than hard turns at 50mph, but as I note in the video, I believe that's more of a product of Xpeng providing what the typical customer in China wants. Once I got to know the vehicle's limits, it was really fun to drive and pretty predictable.
The straight-line braking was exceptional with the P7's Brembo system, but on the track, I could get the anti-locking braking system to lock up momentarily under very hard use. I suspect that could be corrected with a software update, and a little surprised it wasn't already. Speaking of which, the P7 is an extremely well-connected vehicle and is capable of over-the-air updates for many of its systems.
As for the regenerative braking, there are two settings; a strong and a weak regen setting. The strong setting isn't extremely strong, and the vehicle isn't capable of one-pedal driving. I couldn't get it to come to a stop under regen and it had an artificial creep that I couldn't shut off. However, I may just not have been able to figure out how to do that, and I'm getting clarification from Xpeng on this. When I do, I'll update the article.
Perhaps the biggest complaint I have with the P7 that is has a slight delay before delivering power. It's not much; perhaps 1/8 of a second or so, but I've become so accustomed to having me EVs lunge forward the instant I touch the accelerator that any hesitation at all bothers me now.
Xpeng tells us that the all-wheel-drive P7 Performance model that I drove has 430 hp and can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and that felt about right. I think if they manage to eliminate that slight delay they can get it down closer to 4 seconds flat.
Gallery: Xpeng P7 Performance
The Xpeng P7 has flaws, but we wouldn't let that stop us from buying one. It has a lot to offer for the price including an 80.87 kWh thermally-managed battery that gives the rear-wheel-drive version of the P7 the longest driving range of any electric vehicle made in China. The all-wheel-drive performance version that I drove has about 80 fewer miles of range on the NEDC range rating, which will likely translate to about 50 miles less on the EPA test cycle.
The P7 comes with a suite of advanced drivers assist systems including Xpeng's XPilot and is currently capable of Level 2 autonomous driving. Xpeng tells us that the P7 has the hardware for level 3 autonomy, and will update the vehicles OTA to that in early 2021, once China officially approves level 3 autonomous features to be used on public roads.
The P7 can charge from 30% to 80% in 28 minutes, but we weren't able to nail down the exact DC Fast charge rate it's capable of accepting. Xpeng says it can replenish 120 km of range in ten minutes of charging and it has two charge ports on both sides of the front fenders. One for DC fast charging, and one dedicated for AC charging.
P7 Customer deliveries began in late June, with a starting price of RMB 229,900 to 349,900 ($32,462 to $49,404 US) after the new-energy-vehicle subsidies are factored in. The Xpeng representative at the driving event told us that Xpeng has already delivered 18,700 units of the P7 to buyers in China as of the end of July.
We'll be doing more posts on our initial P7 driving impressions soon, including a comprehensive Tesla Model 3 comparison. Let us know what you think of the P7 in the comment section below.